This Man Is Traveling the World – and Works 3 Jobs at the Same Time

Amateur Traveler

I am Chris Christensen. I wear a few hats. I am a travel blogger / podcast at AmateurTraveler.com, where we talk about different destinations to visit and how to travel. I am an entrepreneur at BloggerBridge.com, where we help companies connect with bloggers to work with. I also host the Passport Travel Marketing & PR podcast. I am a software consultant, currently working as a virtual CTO at a small Silicon Valley startup called, RewardsPay. I only go into an office every few weeks. So I work from home most of the time, but also work from the road. My backpack is my office. Wherever I have internet I can work.

I grew up in Salinas, California and I live in Silicon Valley, in San Jose, California. My favorite activities include travel and photography. I am hilarious and shy, but you might not guess the shy part.

Amateur Traveler

How and why did you get into traveling?

I started traveling as a kid with my parents. We mostly traveled around the western United States, but that was enough to build a love of travel.

Our first trip to Europe was instigated because I had a former roommate in college who was doing a post doc degree in Paris. That seemed like as good a reason as any to travel. I don’t remember a lot of actual preparation for that trip. We didn’t even have a single hotel room booked. We found some great places and a few real disasters like staying over a beer hall on the night of Pinksterfest in Germany.

I have had a few trips recently like a bike trip in Germany or hiking the rice terraces in the Philippines that I spent some time getting in shape for, but that is not part of every trip for me.

I tend to use my own podcast to prepare for my travels. Since I have on guests who have been to a destination, I find it helpful to re-listen to a show we might have on a destination before my own trip there.

Amateur Traveler

How do you finance your travels?

Did I mention the three jobs? My travels are a mix of press trips which are sponsored, conferences that I am speaking at which include air fare and accommodation, personal family trips that we pay for, and trips where I take listeners of the show to a destination, which helps pay my way.

My biggest cost is not the travel but the time. Because I can work as a software consultant, for any week that I am traveling there is an opportunity cost of $2000-2500. So even a free trip costs me lost income. So it is a balance of how much travel I can do and how much I want to do. I end up traveling something like 8-12 weeks a year I think.

How do you plan your travels?

The decision of where to travel next is a bit complicated. Sometimes is just saying yes, when I get invited on a press trip. Sometimes it is pitching myself to an agency or destination. At least, once or twice a year I send out information about the Amateur Traveler to over 1000 different PR and marketing people. Then there are the family trips, where the usual negotiation takes place.

Why is traveling important for you?

I love to learn new things and traveling forces you to learn and solve puzzles. Like standing in front of a ticket machine in a language you don’t speak.

Amateur Traveler

How do you bring your things with you and how do you organize them?

I tend to travel with a carry-on and a backpack. I use a Pacsafe Toursafe Lifestyle 21 Inch and a Pacsafe Ultimatesafe 22L Backpack. I prefer to pack light.

Well, I did some work for Pacsafe is how I got these bags, but they have been working out great. They are very durable. The backpack also has slash resistant fabric, which gives me some peace of mind.

Everything in my backpack has a place, with a few specific bags that make things easier to find. My suitcase is less well organized. I roll my cloths to pack them. I keep non-cloths items in a separate compartment and I keep my liquids in an outside pocket where I can get them quickly for security.

How do your bags and gear hold up?

My current bags are holding up great. I do sometimes use a slightly larger American Tourister bag when I need to pack more, like for a cruise with formal nights. That bag is not in as good a shape. The fabric is wearing and one of the wheels needs to be replaced. I am less impressed.

I like not having a black bag for finding my suitcase on the luggage carousel in case I do need to check it. With earlier bags, we have bought cheap and had to replace bags while on the road. Fortunately, we were in Hong Kong where we could easily find a new suitcase.

Amateur Traveler

What has been your best travel-related purchase below $100?

I carry a HooToo Wireless Hard Drive Companion, which I can use to charge my iPhone and iPad, but I can also use as a WiFi extender as I just did in a house in San Miguel de Allende last week. I was glad I had it in my bag.

What other favorite gear do you have?

I live on my iPhone, iPad Mini and MacBook Air.

I have started to use a Logitech keyboard case for my iPad, which makes it a device I can use to create an article even when my laptop is stowed during take off and landing.

I also carry AKG N60nc Noise Canceling Sealed Headphone which are nice and compact but work great.

I carry a TripMate Elite Travel Wireless Router, which is both a battery recharger for my devices and a portable Wi-Fi hotspot extender.

Amateur Traveler

What is your best advice for other travelers?

Find your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to start in a place they speak your language, but then keep stretching your comfort zone until you find your limits. We found my wife’s limits on a night train in China. I am not sure what my limits are yet, other than not doing things that bring the threat of death, and bungee jumping, and jumping out of working airplanes.

What will the future bring?

I have trips planned to NYC / Maine / Nova Scotia, Ireland, The Albuquerque Balloon Festival and India later this year.


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One Comment

  1. Brilliant interview, Chris!

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